Your last section of the UCAT is the Situational Judgement section. In 22 different scenarios, you are either assessed on:
- The appropriateness of particular actions you may take in response to scenarios
- The importance of possible considerations within a situation/scenario
You’ll be given 26 minutes to complete 69 questions within this section and neither medical nor procedural knowledge is required.
The reasoning behind testing situational judgement is that medical professionals need to have high levels of “integrity, perspective taking, team involvement, resilience and adaptability”. You’ll be tested on your response to real world situations and how you plan to respond.
It’s important to think about the traits you are being tested on when considering each question. The traits, as outlined above, include:
- honesty and integrity
- working well in a team
- resilience (working successfully under pressure)
- goal-directed problem solving
For example, where a question asks how you would respond to an ethical dilemma regarding admitting a fault, you need to recognise that this is testing your honesty and integrity, and answer accordingly. In choosing the appropriate action, you show the examiners how you would respond with integrity and honesty in this particular scenario and, through extension, in life.
Be aware of your role in the scenario, as this will dictate the extent of your actions. It is important (to learn) to appreciate your role within a greater scheme of events and be able to act appropriately. For example, your role in a clinical scenario will differ if you have been assigned the role of a student compared to the role of a doctor. Learn to identify with your character and use this to guide your approach.
Note that your answers do not require medical or procedural knowledge. However, reading about what makes a good doctor and good medical practice (the ethics of practicing medicine) will help you refine your responses.
Focus on the questions asked rather than the overall scenario when responding to questions. Sure, it’s important to understand what is occurring in the scenario. But although typically you will have a good idea of what is the most appropriate way to respond to the scenario presented, the question might not ask you to respond directly to that. Make sure that the response is directly in reply to the question asked.
Finally, practice! Practice working through scenarios within your study groups. Practice under time constraints with your preparatory materials. With time and effort, you’ll see improvement.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how we at METC Institute can help you prepare successfully for your upcoming UCAT, including the SJT section, get in touch and let us show you what we can offer.
Until next time, happy studying!